UPDATE: Where the candidates say jobs will come
JOBS for the Gladstone region are critical in the city’s recovery from the COVID pandemic and participants in the Gladstone Observer/Courier Mail Queensland Election 2020 debate all promised to make the issue a priority.
The Observer asked participants Glenn Butcher, Ron Harding and Kevin Jorgensen – “It’s widely known people were moved from around the state to Gladstone as it is affordable to live here. What will you do to ensure our children and these people can obtain good secure jobs for theirs and the city’s future?”
LNP candidate Ron Harding said it was essential to focus on jobs.
“We need to focus on jobs, training facilities and apprenticeships,” Mr Harding said.
“Gladstone is predominantly an industrial town and we need to unleash our manufacturing industries and unlock the state’s resources.
“We need to hone in and keep up with the latest of technologies, to maintain our world competitiveness.
“The biggest risk to people in Gladstone at the moment is the rising unemployment, which is hovering at around 7.7 per cent.
“Labor has given Queensland the highest unemployment in Australia for four years running, they’ve got no plan for jobs.
“The LNP will grow the economy and create jobs, we’ve got a plan for jobs and we’ve got a plan to supercharge the regions.”
Labor’s Glenn Butcher said the government had set up a manufacturing hub in Gladstone to help drive manufacturing and employment.
“When I first became the Minister, The Premier said to me that we need an extra manufacturing hub in Gladstone,” Mr Butcher said.
“So we’ve set up a manufacturing hub here in Gladstone to make sure that we can get those businesses, not only the ones that are currently here, but those businesses that are looking to come to Gladstone, and how we can start to make manufacturing bigger and better in Gladstone.
“I’ve said for a long time we’ve got world class alumina refineries and world class aluminium smelters down in Boyne Tannum and I want to make sure that we can start to manufacture something out of aluminium here in Gladstone.
“On top of that, the opportunities that we have going forward, and as the hydrogen champion in Queensland government, this is the next big thing we’re going to do in Gladstone.
“As a state member, in the past and hopefully in the future, I will drive that, so we get those hydrogen industries set up here in Gladstone and go from strength to strength like the LNG did.”
One Nation’s Kevin Jorgensen said affordable electricity prices were the key to growing manufacturing and employment in Gladstone.
“The most important thing with electricity is sustained reliable power and as a lot of people know, that’s just not possible with renewables,” Mr Jorgensen said.
“You need a back up power supply with renewables, if it’s raining, or of a night time, they’re not doing their job.
“While One Nation is supportive of renewable energy, there’s still a lot more research and improvements to be made before renewables can become a viable alternative.
“Power stations have to produce affordable raw energy otherwise jobs will be lost at a greater rate in the Gladstone area.
“We can be a manufacturing powerhouse, but at the moment I just feel it’s not going to be on the back of renewables.”
Independent candidate Murray Peterson said Gladstone had the potential to grow its employment base.
“Gladstone has a number of opportunities for responsible use of natural resources such as the harbour, value adding to current products such as aluminium and alumina and the reprocessing of waste products such as red mud.
“Building aluminium ships in a ship yard next to Boyne Island Smelter would minimise the transport costs of moving the aluminium to a distant ship yard providing a competitive advantage.
“Production of hydrogen, ammonia, the recycling of oil are all opportunities we have. “Providing it is safe and not damaging to the environment I intend to encourage industrial development.”
Greens candidate Emma Eastaughffe said the renewable energy industry would provide up to 15,000 jobs.
“The Greens have a plan to make Gladstone a clean energy hub and revive local manufacturing by investing in publicly-owned renewable energy and kickstarting production of a green steel manufacturing plant in Gladstone that will create 15,000 good, secure jobs over the next five years,” she said.